ASIC flags end of year litigation surge

The corporate regulator has indicated it will ramp up enforcement action as 2020 comes to a close, initiating around 50 civil cases, prosecution referrals and administrative actions against individuals and companies ASIC alleges are in breach of their obligations.

In responses to questions on notice to the House economics committee, ASIC said it intended to file approximately 15 civil cases in the last two months of the year.

The regulator also said it would refer “approximately 20 briefs of evidence” to the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions “relating to approximately 25 individuals or companies”.

In a previous hearing of the committee, former ASIC deputy chair Daniel Crennan said the speed with which cases were brought before the end of year would depend on how investigations were progressing within the organisation.

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“The conclusion of investigations under section 13 of the ASIC Act results in the decision-making process either within the executive or in significant matters at commission level,” Mr Crennan said.

“Those decisions happen periodically, so it really depends upon the executive bringing those decisions to either the commission or to themselves. I can't predict with precision when they'll be.

“We do have target dates and whether we meet them or not is a matter for how that investigation is completed.”

Further, ASIC said it would be referring 10 individuals or entities for administrative action before the end of the year.

“These outcomes are subject to evidentiary requirements being met and the availability of external resources such as legal counsel and experts,” the regulator said.

ASIC flags end of year litigation surge
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